Jan 12, 2012

Drying Up

It's time to let the milk dry up. As emotionally difficult as this is for me, for more than one reason, I think it's time. Our goal from the beginning was to give Brayden breast milk for six months. He will be six months on Saturday.

There are a couple of reasons that I'm stopping. One, I've only been getting about two feedings worth in a 24 hours period for more than a month, which means we've been dipping into our frozen supply. Two, it's a lot of work to keep up with to only get that much milk. Three, starting in February we have a big travel year and it will be a whole lot easier to not have to deal with all that. Anyone who's ever breastfed/pumped knows what I'm talking about. If I was still over producing milk like I was for a good time, I would not be stopping.

It's really difficult to end this relationship with my baby. He loves my milk so much more than formula, so I feel guilty about stopping. Zach keeps reminded me that we've done good by giving him milk for six months. We still have a little bit of frozen milk that we will be using until it's gone. Plus, soon we will be starting him on real food.

I pumped Sunday night when I got home from work, and then on Monday I stopped cold turkey. Since I wasn't getting full ever, I thought that stopping cold turkey wouldn't be so bad. I went the whole day and didn't start feeling any pressure until right before I went to bed. I decided to just throw in some breast pads to catch any leakage and went to bed. Boy was I mistaken!

I slept miserably but tried to fight through it, knowing if I gave in and pumped to relieve pressure that it would only tell my body to keep lactating. Around 2 a.m. I couldn't take the pain anymore and went into the bathroom, leaned over the sink and squeezed until the pain didn't kill anymore (sounds attractive, huh?) Went back to bed, and around 4 a.m. couldn't take the pain again, so I gave in and came downstairs to pump. I pumped about 2 ounces from each side and felt so much relief. I didn't empty and boy was it hard to stop!! But I did. I slept a little better for the rest of the night and didn't pump at all the next day.

I worked until about 11 that night and had to pump again when I got home. This time I pretty much emptied, because I had some isolated sore spots and was afraid of getting mastitis. The next day I had my annual OBGYN appointment and would ask him how I should handle this. He said the fastest way to dry up was to go cold turkey, as painful as it might be. Any sort of stimulation would signal by body to continue producing. But good news (I think?) is that since that last time I pumped, I have not filled up hardly at all. Yes, squishy is goodness.

It can't be that easy, can it? One night of misery?

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